The Real Work At Home Dilemma--managing Your Household

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People have misguided dreams of how life is going to be once they begin working at home. While it isn't quite the same as the law of diminishing returns, there is a very similar effect that is involved between what you envision working at home to be and what working from home actually is.

Personally, I had dreams of working 9 to 4, having a perfectly spotless house, dinner on the table each and every night, a beautifully manicured and maintained lawn, no back log of laundry, and perfectly behaved children. As the old commercial goes, 'get real!' The truth is that when you work from home, especially in the beginning, you will have to schedule your time very carefully in order to avoid a house that is so hopelessly wrecked and a laundry pile that is beyond all sense of control. Your children will resent the time you are spending involved in other projects and create disasters that must be tended to and your 'to do' list will become an epic poem that would make even Homer blink.

These are the growing pains of working from home and you will find that in time and with careful planning, you can get a grip and find some sense of balance. The problem is that too many people give up their dreams of working from home at the first signs of trouble. Here are a few things you can do that might help you regain the control over your life that you feel you've lost as well as getting your family on board and working with you rather than against you:

1) Delegate. This is important and often the most difficult. You don't necessarily have to involve your family in the inner workings of your business, but you can recruit them to help in areas where they might be of assistance. Even young children can help empty the office trash can or help put away inventory. Also remember that your family can play a major role in helping with household responsibilities. Get your children or spouse to help with dinner and laundry one night a week (younger children can help fold wash clothes and put away their own clothes).

2) Schedule. Schedule time for everything during your week, especially time for family. If your family is happy with your working from home and doesn't feel neglected they will be much less likely to contribute to your woes when they arise and more likely to support you when you are feeling down about your decision. Also schedule time for things like throwing dinner into the crock-pot, running the vacuum cleaner, and washing dishes. It may seem silly, but if you have time planned for these events you won't feel so rushed while you are doing them. Also schedule down time for yourself and take it. You need to take breaks throughout the day, get away from your computer and breathe deeply. Even if it's taking a walk around your house do something to take your mind off business for fifteen minutes.

3) Plan For Family. Plan one night a week or afternoon for family time. Make that night a recurring night that work will not interfere. That night should be sacred and you should plan something special that night each week even if it's just a board game and frozen pizza or microwave popcorn and a DVD. This gets you away from work one night a week, gives you time to reconnect with your family, and lets your family know that they are a priority for you.

The amazing thing is that most people begin working at home in order to have more time with their families and end up working longer hours and spending less time with their families. Be mindful of your priorities and never lose sight of the reasons you wanted to work from home in the first place. Also, don't give up too easily it may seem like tough going at first, but it is well worth it in the end.
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